5 trends in 5G for 2021 and beyond
5G is not just a speed boost. The jump from 3G to 4G LTE gave better speeds to mobile devices on the move. The leap from 4G to 5G is an entirely different beast. Yes, it will increase over-the-air data speeds, but more importantly, it will usher in a new era of reliability and low latency that is likely to change the way factories and offices work, and further deepen the digital transformations that have taken root over the past year. Here are five of the biggest trends we can expect to see moving as 5G takes hold in 2021 and beyond.
5G in enterprise edge networks
Edge computing and 5G go together like a horse and carriage, unleashing a torrent of minimal lag data and allowing virtualisation to move away from being a cost-saving convenience for enterprise customers to a fully fledged new way of working through the cloud. Expect 5G/edge to be among the biggest shifts in enterprise technology over the next couple of years.
5G in robotics, AI and IoT
The reliability and speed of 5G means robots and internet-linked machinery will become more robust and independent, gradually shifting away from heavy human supervision. As more and better data are relayed in near real time, expect AI to take leaps forward in its ability to recognise operational patterns.
5G in developing countries
While the developed world is looking at partially moving its data streams to 5G from existing infrastructure, other areas are looking at 5G as the first wave of reliable internet. Expect disruption as much of the world’s population gains access to steady data speeds for the first time.
5G for superusers
5G devices are launching thick and fast, many in the entry-level price band. At the premium end of the market, 5G will unlock more possibilities for developers to create new products and ways of working. Rumours abound that the movement will primarily accelerate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), but expect 5G to give rise to new technology ideas with potentially transformative effects as well.
5G in data analysis
Digital transformation has had a busy year with Covid-19 accelerating the trend for data-led business across all sectors. Empowered with what for many is their first foray into data analysis, expect many firms to embrace the power of 5G to collect, analyse and share unprecedented amounts of data.
Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF
As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.
The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”
It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.
“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”
The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”
Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.
“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”